Back by popular demand, and better this year, we are hosting a multi-city social event. Come join members of the Building Commissioning Association Northeast Chapter for an after work Happy Hour event in downtown NYC, Boston, and Rochester.
Multi-City Social Event !!! Tuesday September 19 – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Come join your local Northeast Chapter members for a cocktail after work. Last year we had our first annual Social Event in NYC. Other cities wanted in on the action, and we listened to you. Tell your friends in the industry to join us. We encourage members and non-members to connect. First drink is on us!
NYC (venue change) Ainsworth Bar 45 East 33rd Street, New York, NY 10016 http://theainsworth.com/midtown RSVP preferred but not required: Ryan Lean (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boston Back Bay Social Club 867 Boylston Street (between Gloucester & Fairfield), Boston, MA, 02199 http://www.backbaysocialclub.com/ RSVP preferred but not required: Austin Azzaretto (email@example.com)
Rochester TRATA – The Restaurant at the Armory 145 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14620 https://tratarochester.com/ RSVP preferred but not required: Rachel Stuckey (StuckeyR@erdmananthony.com)
JOURNAL(Sept. 11,2017) -I don't remember all the details now. We were just shaken to our core.
We were still at Penn State. I was in Atherton Hall with drafting tools and drawings all over desks scrambling to finish up an assignment for Working Drawings class. What a pain right then. I was exhausted but got up early to make sure I finished before our class. My roommate Michele popped into the room, still in her pajamas and told me that the WTC building in NYC was hit with a plane. I just needed to finish this assignment, so in a conceited irritated way I told her that buildings were built to handle planes. There was one that flew into the Empire State building. It's a tragedy, but it'll be fine. She left me there with my drafting. A few minutes later she yelled at me (to stop being an idiot) I'm sure, that this wasn't just a plane that flew into a building. The building fell.
What? I ran into our room and the two of us watched the news footage then. The smoking buildings. The fallen first tower.
What. I apologized and we both just got into a mode of trying to figure out what was going on. On campus, at home. There was a plane not too far away in Pa, in DC. Second tower.
The both of us started trying to call family then. We didn't know what was going on. It seemed like everyone was still either sleeping or in class already. It was between 9 and 10. Details are blurry. I don't remember people in a panic. Nor do I remember a lockdown or any campus announcements. I don't think anyone knew what to do.
Cell phones were jamming, but we got through. Those first stupid Nokia candybar phones we had.
We got dressed and I went to class to see what was going on. It was more like quiet panic, but no lockdown. No directives. Maybe I was in too much shock to remember.
I only had to walk across the Hub and Old main to get to Sackett for class. Jonathan Dougherty was there, just quiet to start. Most of us were at our drafting desks. He knew what we did on the news. He had friends in NY near the WTC and he's hadn't heard from them yet. He calmly gave us orders to meet at the Obelisk if anything happened on campus, but to go back home now and check on family and friends. He told us to call our families and let them know we loved them. We didn't know everything. We hadn't heard back from everyone. Details are a blur. The feeling of the ground being removed from under us...that remains. Later that night it was candles on the Hub lawn with close friends. We were all detail-less still then. Just needed to feel human and loved and be together. We were unsure of safety, anything. I stood with my friend Amish who immediately felt alienated and paranoid. I don't even remember if he was Muslim, but he was middle eastern. There were no words.
It was the feeling of shock and true terror and not knowing, and not being able to get in touch with anyone. And we were hundreds of miles out of NYC. So we couldn't even imagine what was really happening.
I'm sure we didn't even know if we were safe at that point, either. I was just glad for my PSU AE family that day, and Jonathan just knowing what to say and do at the moment. Our AE department would be at all of the round tables in months to follow, analyzing and assessing what had happened to the buildings, the structures themselves-if thee was anything that couldn't been done to better serve the buildings, better save the lives of people inside. I think one assessment included that the towers collapsing as they did was thanks to design, and actually minimized loss of life (I.e. collapsed only on themselves and not additional structures), although that means little now as minimized doesn't matter on that scale of catastrophe. We as students even would have future structural exams with questions related to the towers and fire and steel and collapse.
I was with Alex at that time, and he lived right across the river in NJ. Not sure how or when we decided to travel, but we were back there when smoke was still rising from the buildings.
We were in shock, numb, still waiting with his family and friends who were still waiting to hear from loved ones. We were standing on the beach then, having driven home to NJ and out to Sandy Hook. We stood, just staring at the smoke, still billowing out of Manhattan. All we could think was, "Life will never be the same. We will never forget this."
It never was.
We never will.
Remembering everyone who gave their lives that day.
Remembering those who gave (who still are giving) their lives as a result of responding that day.
More memories from PSU AE: https://www.engr.psu.edu/ae/newsletters/newsletter/Fa01/WTC.htm
AJ and Joel were the boots on the ground who started it all and who made sure our donations all made it through to people and pets who were in dire need of personal affects. Jump-Start Building Cx along with a whole bunch of other friends from PSUAE, APX, PA/DC/MD, and others pulled together over $20,000 in just a few days after the storm. Supplies were delivered as soon as the guys got out and shopped and dropped them off at people and pet shelters. Great job, everyone! Glad to be a part of the rescue effort.
Here's an article about it that was published in Lock Haven, Pa's The Express.
HOUSTON — After days and days of nothing but rain, the sun began to finally shine and Mother Nature was calm.
In the warm sun, the view of Houston had changed … dramactically.
That’s when former Mill Hall resident A.J. Kessinger and his husband Joel Bruff and friends Ashley Grundvig, Juan Valdez and Shonda Mason, decided they had to do something.
After witnessing the destruction, they had to help the people and pets of this disaster called Hurricane Harvey.
“Last Tuesday, the city of Houston’s Human Resources director sent employees an email asking for help to set up a new shelter for evacuees at the Toyota Center, where the NBA Houston Rockets play. We were asked to assist if we could get there, so the three of us –Joel, Juan and myself — headed there to help,” Kessinger said.
Kessinger works as the Senior Project Manager in the City of Houston’s Public Works Department in the Storm Water Maintenance Branch. He is a Clinton County native, part of the last graduating class of Bald Eagle-Nittany High School and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2004. He has lived in Houston since 2009.
After being at the Toyota Center for for about two hours, they were sent home because the shelter had too many volunteers.
But that wasn’t to be the end for the trio’s volunteering efforts.
“We wanted to do more. On Wednesday morning when I woke up I was seeing stories of shelters and donation centers being in need of pet food, so I decided I wanted to do more now,” Kessinger said. “It wasn’t just pet food they needed either. They were in need of everything; diapers, formula, feminine products, socks, underwear, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, cleaning supplies etc, etc.”
Kessinger began to fundraise. He and his husband and friends were determined to put these much-needed everyday things into the hands of their fellow man and beast.
“I was texting with a good friend who lives outside D.C. about how things were going down here. I said I saw they needed more pet food and supplies so I was going to purchase some and donate them. I mentioned to her that if she would like to contribute some funds that I’d be able to get more,” Kessinger said.
His friend didn’t blink and funds were quickly deposited into his PayPal account.
“I think a light bulb went off then, like ok, maybe I can do what J.J. Watt is doing on a much smaller scale and be able to get more people to contribute and donate more goods. So, I sent out a few texts and within minutes I had about $1,500,” he said.
The ball was rolling.
People were more than willing to put donated funds into his hands to get the help Houston needed.
“An hour or two later when we headed out for our first run it was up to $5,000. So far at last check, it was nearing $20,000 with $15,000 worth of goods already purchased and taken to shelters and donation centers. We have locations lined up for the remaining funds and will be distributing this week,” he said.
Those donations were from around 250 people he said. From all over, including our Central PA area and they are still looking to help more.
“A large bulk of that has been from people directly donating through PayPal and Venmo. I have received gift cards as well. A few times, I was even approached by total strangers in Petco who asked if the pet supplies were being donated. When I said yes, they gave me cash to help the cause,” he said.
Kessinger is keeping everyone abreast of what is being purchased, where and how it’s being used.
Just recently on a trip to a Costco, the group ran into doctors from a local children’s hospital. The doctors told them about the needs at the hospital.
Minutes later a whole cart, overflowing with these basic items was purchased and designated to go to that children’s hospital, Kessinger said.
I had a tremendous amount of assistance in shopping and distributing goods from my husband Joel and friends Ashley, Juan and Shonda. Joel and Ashley were a great help on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when we were making our shopping trips and donation drop offs, with Juan helping us on Wednesday and Shonda pitching in on Friday,” he said.
“We haven’t been in the shelters to hand out the goods. They are all staffed with volunteers who are handling that, so we have just been making drop offs to various locations around the city of Houston,” he said.
Getting to the stores and getting needed items, Kessinger said, isn’t hard. It’s fitting them all in a cart and transport that proves complicated, he said.
“Other than they don’t make carts big enough sometimes. The employees at Petco now know who we are and just give us one of their flatbed carts when we walk in,” he said.
Kessinger and his husband were fortunate to make it through Harvey without the rising water getting to their home.
Landfall occurred Saturday night, and once the rain began, it didn’t stop until Tuesday, August 28, he said.
“I am fortunate that the house sits up on a high point. The closest high water got to us was to the end of the driveway. This happened Saturday and Sunday evening, but it never came higher than that,” he said. “Luckily we never lost power. The worst of the rain was Saturday night where some locations got close to 18 inches. Sunday night was much of the same, but close to the totals of Saturday night.”
Kessinger said Houstonians and Texans are pretty well-readied for the hurricane season.
“We got some water, gas for the generator, dog food, beer, filled the tubs with water and just planned to ride it out. I think we all had the same thought … that we are going to get a lot of rain… but we’ve gotten that before, so there was no real sense of panic going in. I don’t think any of us thought we would see the amount of rain that we did,” he said.
Many weren’t as fortunate as Kessigner, and it will years before some areas can recovery completely.
“There were high water rescues being done by everyday citizens with their fishing boats and canoes. I was not expecting this. The amount of rain that fell was insane and I have never seen water that high. We have had three pretty significant rain events since I have lived here. Those events required the same rescues, but the water levels from Harvey were maybe 10 to 15 feet higher along some bayous and creeks,” he said.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as the surveying of damage and rebuilding of lives began, Kessinger’s group continues to reach out and help.
“It’s been an emotional week of being a Houstonian. From the sorrow of so many devastated all across Southeast Texas to the heartwarming stories of all the outpouring of support from volunteers and donating of goods, strangers helping stranger and just seeing the best in humanity. I am very proud to call myself a Houstonian, even if I’m not a native one,” he said.
Visit article webpage here: http://www.lockhaven.com/news/local-news/2017/09/a-j-kessinger-and-friends-raise-20000-for-harvey-victims/
Tracey Jumper, CCP